Chinese whistleblower: Uyghurs were arrested at night and beaten until they confessed to something

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

China’s reeducation/prison system for Uyghurs in the western province of Xinjiang has been called “a dystopian hellscape” where people are routinely tortured and degraded. So at this point you’d think it wouldn’t be possible to further shocked by what goes on there. But today CNN published a report based on an interview with a former detective who left China and is now describing his experiences there from the safety of Europe.

“We took (them) all forcibly overnight,” he said. “If there were hundreds of people in one county in this area, then you had to arrest these hundreds of people.”…

“Kick them, beat them (until they’re) bruised and swollen,” Jiang said, recalling how he and his colleagues used to interrogate detainees in police detention centers. “Until they kneel on the floor crying.”…

“Everyone uses different methods. Some even use a wrecking bar, or iron chains with locks,” Jiang said. “Police would step on the suspect’s face and tell him to confess.”

That’s eerily reminiscent of a famous quote from George Orwell’s 1984: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face— forever.” Jiang, whose full name isn’t being released because he has relatives still in China, said everyone was told to confess to some crime while being tortured. Those who confessed were then judged guilty and shuttled off to prison. Jiang said the system was very well organized and that officers had a quota to fill of the number of people that needed to be detained. Anyone who resisted had a gun put to their head. They were told that they would be shot unless they went along with the arrest. Jiang said it wasn’t hard to make people confess using certain methods.

“If you want people to confess, you use the electric baton with two sharp tips on top,” Jiang said. “We would tie two electrical wires on the tips and set the wires on their genitals while the person is tied up.”…

“Some people see this as a job, some are just psychopaths,” he said.

One “very common measure” of torture and dehumanization was for guards to order prisoners to rape and abuse the new male inmates, Jiang said.

CNN spoke to a male survivor of the camps who claims this exact scenario happened to him when he first arrived. Guards ordered the other inmates to rape him and then mocked him the next day, asking if he’d enjoyed it.

Jiang himself says he can’t sleep most night, thinking about his own guilt as part of a system that destroyed tens of thousands of lives.

“I am guilty, and I’d hope that a situation like this won’t happen to them again,” Jiang said. “I’d hope for their forgiveness, but it’d be too difficult for people who suffered from torture like that.”

Xi Jinping’s China is a brutal place for anyone deemed an opponent of the regime. It’s amazing that this kind of systematic brutality is happening in the world today and we don’t seem prepared to do much about it.